SA company fined after worker’s deadly fall

An Adelaide asbestos removal company has been fined $150,000 after a worker fell to his death.

In March 2021, the 58-year-old man, employed by Allstar Asbestos Services Ltd, was working on a crawl board placed over asbestos roof sheeting, which was resting on the timber rafters of a home verandah.

The rafter immediately below the man snapped and he fell 2.5 metres onto a concrete slab suffering a fatal brain injury.

Allstar was charged with breaching workplace safety laws after a SafeWork SA investigation with the case finalised on Friday in the SA Employment Tribunal following a guilty plea.

A site inspection at the home before the incident raised concerns about the condition of some of the rafters above the veranda and while supports were put in place, they were not positioned under the rafter that failed.

The man who died was also not supplied with a safety harness.

In sentencing remarks tribunal deputy president Judge Tony Rossi recorded a conviction against Allstar and imposed an initial fine of $500,000, which was reduced because of the guilty plea and the company’s limited financial position.

“The danger associated with working on the asbestos sheeting to the veranda with the minimal propping provided by Allstar was obvious,” Judge Rossi said.

“At the same time, no fall arrest system was implemented even though the need for one was identified.

“There has been no satisfactory explanation as to how the contravention was allowed to occur in this case.”

SafeWork SA acting executive director Glenn Farrell said falls from heights, particularly below three metres, were among the most common causes of workplace injuries and deaths and were all preventable.

“The lack of consideration and suitable controls to adequately prevent this tragedy is not acceptable,” Mr Farrell said in a statement on Tuesday.

“All workers and their loved ones should expect employers take reasonable steps to ensure their health and safety, and not to expose them to unnecessary and avoidable risks.”

Source: The Canberra Times

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